Kickapoo Ramblings
By Cynthia Smith


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The wonders of modern technologies

By Cynthia Smith

Editor note - Cynthia is having computer problem again, so this is a reprint.

Sipping coffee this morning after a four hour drive yesterday, happily settled back in my woods, it dawned on me that so many of my writings veer back to how life used to be, not at all appreciative of how much my life benefits from what is "modern".

So lest I be thought of as a grumpy old cat lady, I decided to express how many advantages I have in my life because of modern technologies and talented inventors that bring ease to my daily chores.

I don't have a dishwasher as most kitchens now do, but there is only a need for one at holidays and then I have a houseful of helpers to do dishes then. And the ONLY reason I do not have one is that my kitchen is too small. So that is one invention that I find brilliant and a time saver for sure - Maybe I'll have one in my next dwelling.

Another creation that I still may purchase before I croak is the remote starter for my car.  Anyone living through Midwest winters and has a job to go to daily will see the value of this idea.  One is in the bathroom brushing teeth and will be off to the daily grind in a few minutes and then hits a remote and voila! their car parked outside fires up and begins to warm the engine AND the interior for the driver and any passenger. Now that is a modern gift, I think.

How did TV couch potatoes exist before the remote? Just surfing channels often drove me nuts when my kids used it or my husband fast forwarded hitting History, National Geographic, ESPN, and all those in between so rapidly I could never get my choice made in the machine gun rapid like changes of channels.  But, the remote IS helpful when making selections. (We used to get up, walk to the tv and flip the dial to the few existing channels before cable.)

Smart phones? I still don't own one, but probably will in the future. I watch the younger generation get answers from Google when they have a question, or bring up a map so they don't get lost when picking up a cousin in a rarely visited city.  They are told what street to turn on, and if they miss it, they're given direction to turn around and correct.  What a marvelous tool. 

Food processors.  Just think back if you have German ancestors, to the day when cabbages were pushed over the krautcutter's blades to make slaw or other dishes. This took a while.  Now the chunks go into a food processor and it takes just minutes. Any cook will say this is a great help. Or better yet, a trip to the grocer will give you BAGS of cabbage already cut, and you just take it home and prepare your dish.

New farm equipment? I don't have the expertise to describe the fantastic machines on the market now, but I can tell you after watching a parade on Fourth of July, there are tools out there for agriculture that would make Uncle Adolph, who did his farming with two mules for propulsion, fall in a dead faint were he alive. How many acres can some of these new machines make possible for ONE ambitious couple to till?

Going on and on, I think of cable TV with hundreds of channels, heart transplants like my Iowa friend got twenty years ago, the returning vets with missing limbs that now function by THINKING commands to it, robotic arms completing a surgical operation in hospital, a car that DRIVES itself - oops - one just crashed itself - the list never stops, and many inventions exist that I have not read about as yet.

If you, dear reader, were forced to choose just one modern-day improvement you possess, what would it be?  I think mine might be the computer. Gladly, I don't have to choose.

Cynthia can be reached at

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